Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Porter greenhouses get approval; Summer Tree developer withdraws

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

A rezoning request for plans to put two greenhouses at 1240 Beam St., near U.S. 20, received unanimous favor from the Porter Plan Commission on Wednesday.

Petitioning for the rezoning to B-3 Business, resident Sherrill Newman said she wishes to have two hoop greenhouses about 100 feet long running parallel to Beam St., where she’ll grow exotic tropical flowers and wholesale organic produce to sell.

The public hearing drew in some neighbors who were concerned about how the rezoning to business purposes would impact them. Ruth Wahl, who resides immediately east of the property, said the neighborhood was zoned as residential in the 1950’s and she would like to see it remain that way.

Greg Martinson who owns Martinson Cabinets to the north asked about access, whether an egress would be made onto U.S. 20 or Beam St.

Meanwhile, neighbor Mary Bradow wanted to know how drainage will be handled on the property “since we are all on wells” and Mark Fisher inquired what is allowed in a B-3 zoning in case it turned out Newman would be unable to open the greenhouses.

Newman said her task is “to make sure I’m a good neighbor and not affect you at all.” She said she will make deliveries herself so there wouldn’t be any large trucks or traffic on the property and she will put up hedges as a buffer, as required by Town Code.

The only disturbance would be noise from fans, according to Newman, but she said she intends to have those far enough away from neighboring residences that they won’t be audible off-property. The greenhouses would be at least 50 feet from the property line, she said.

Right now there is no driveway on the property and Newman said she would speak with the town on the best approach on where to put one. Town Planner Jim Mandon noted that any cutout onto U.S. 20 would need approval from the state.

Part of the property is already zoned B-3, Mandon noted, and other parts are zoned single-family and multi-family residential. He said he would prefer to see it zoned all as one classification. There is a residence on it now that has been in disrepair and long ago there was a winery and a motel.

Mandon said given the small size of the property, he doesn’t expect anything to be built there under the B-3 zoning that would have a high impact.

Newman said she plans to fix up the house and as for drainage, she plans to collect the water on site to use for her plants.

One speaker, resident Jennifer Klug, lauded Newman’s intention to make use of the unused property with a low impact business and for the taxes the Town will draw from it. “This is something that will benefit the town,” Klug said.

Town Development Director Michael Barry said he’s in favor as well. “Anything that cleans up a blighted property is a good use,” he said.

Commission member and Town Councilman David Wodrich spoke highly of the plants Newman grows and added the market for organic foods is growing.

“We need this type of thing. We need organic farming. There is a high demand for this and I don’t see (Newman) failing because her products are great,” Wodrich said.

The request will now go to the Town Council for approval. Under the motion, Newman is to submit a copy of the property deed within the next six months in order to get the rezoning.

Summer Tree lots update

Earlier in the meeting, Barry announced that he received an e-mail from Dan Fowler and James Metcalf saying they are withdrawing their request to replat lots 1 through 4 and 25 of the Summer Tree subdivision on the northwest corner of U.S. 20 and Waverly Rd.

The request, which involved building multi-unit residential properties, had been tabled by the Plan Commission since August.

Barry said the subdivision’s original developer Glen Cowsert will be making the replat request, possibly at the January meeting. The plans are roughly the same but Cowsert intends to join up with the existing property owner’s association, Barry said.

“It should be a lot simpler the way it’s going to be revised,” he said.

“We hope. We’d like to put this thing to rest,” replied Commission President Jim Eriksson.

BZA sets public hearing

for garage

Afterward, the Town’s Board of Zoning Appeals met briefly for about five minutes, unanimously agreeing to set a public hearing at its January meeting on resident Mike Kiest’s request for a development standard variance for his new garage.

Barry noticed the height exceeded the maximum height requirements by a little more than a foot and advised Kiest to ask for a variance.

Kiest said he guesses he got “a little carried away on building” the garage. The upper level is used for storage, he said.

 

Posted 12/17/2015

 
 
 
 

 

 

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